Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I admit to having a limited attention span when it comes to crafting.This means I tend to choose short but reasonably challenging projects so I don't get bored but I pick up skills. Recently I've been trying to contribute to a knit-a-square for an orphans' blankets scheme, and have actually completed one square, but the second square is taking a ridiculously long time because I'm bored now and my first world guilt about shivering orphans is clearly not big enough to force me to crack the whip over myself. Don't worry I will do it. Soon.

Anyway. So while I could be knitting squares, or getting on with a nice little purple knitted shrug I started last year, or maybe finding a pattern to develop the new crochet skills, or sewing the wizard cloaks I promised to the Cherub and his cousin, or the bunting for a newish baby (it's cut out, but the drudgery of sewing all those triangles together defeated me) what has actually been happening is this:


Yes. I've taken up embroidery. Keep up! Someone bloggy told me about this gorgeous alphabet sampler from Alicia Paulson, and I sent off for it earlier this year. I received a fabulous kit, with the screen-printed design, the needles, the instructions and the embroidery wool all included. (The kit is now sold out but you can still buy the pattern.) Above you can see the exact level of novice-itude I started with, that's some pretty wonky chain stitch going on there. My efforts with that first letter led me to predict it would take me 5 years to complete this project! It's even worse on the underside though...


Oh no! Sewn through the folds of material! Despite being aware that this would be easy to do and keeping an eye for it, I still managed to sew a good 5-6 chains before I realised.

But. The more I do, the easier it gets and to date I have managed reasonable stem stitch, satin stitch, back-stitch and threaded back-stitch, and lazy daisies. I did have problems when I attempted French knots, and was beginning to think that particular stitch and I were never going to be friends, but then I watched Kootoyoo's tutorial, and I'm happy to report that French Knots and I have now patched up our differences. And given that I am now one-fifth of the way through the alphabet, I may yet come in ahead of schedule with this particular project! Especially because I am really enjoying it.


As an added bonus I think embroidery is the first craft I've tried which is television friendly. The sewing machine is too noisy and you really do have to watch where you're going. I'm not good enough at either knitting or crochet to do them without looking, and I also find with them that there's usually boring counting required. But this little sampler has all the lines printed for me to follow, and although obviously I need to look where I'm going, somehow I can still watch a show. The show I've mostly been watching with my hoop in hand is a dvd of Downton Abbey, which is perfect: sometimes the ladies and are I stitching along together! I am absolutely loving the show, to the point where I have slowed down watching the episodes because I don't want it to end. Maggie Smith is superbly funny, but I think the whole production is excellent. Great cast, the most beautiful costumes, vintage cars and steam trains, a wonderful stately home and a great script. It's my new favourite thing.


  1. That alphabet sampler is gorgeous! Good for you. I, too, hate to just sit in front of the TV. Must have hand work! Will have to keep this pattern in mind for when I run out of applique---that should be around 2025, IF I do some every day!

  2. I love the sampler and am completely stomper like in my inability to finish a project. I have a good feeling about your sampler though.

    Must get that show on DVD .

  3. Kirst has saved my french knot sanity too. So much so I had to french knot my way through an oversized dead fly. I LOVE FRENCH KNOTS. I love your sampler too. It's been on the TV friendly To Do...

  4. Good on you! It is quite a soothing thing to do, Is embroidery back in fashion? I used to do it as a schoolgirl, and did many doilies for my mother. Don't know what happened to them: there are none in my linen cupboard. Perhaps my older sister got all this stuff.

  5. heehee, yep, I hear you about the freezing orphans. I'm TRYING to knit one a blanket, I am only aiming at one, and then I'm done! So boring....I've been seeing that embrpoidery a bit, don't want to get into another craft, though, so am skipping it!

  6. I started embroidering about 20 years ago (god), and I think I still have WIPs from then. Also I can't do a French knot to save my life. Must watch that tutorial!

  7. Wow! I find embroidery intriguing - so much patience and such steady hands necessary. It's beautiful!

  8. Wow. I admire your embroidery endeavours...and know that I could never go there.

    Downton Abbey, on the other hand, I'm completely with you on that one! I'm struggling with the wait for Season Two - but you know delayed gratification and me are not friends.

  9. Maybe I ought to have embroidered while the old chap was watching "D Abbey". Haven't the patience to sit still long enough to watch anything more than half an hour long...

  10. Who knew there were so many kinds of stitches! That would drive me crazy. I'm not good at finishing either. But the embroidery looks diverse enough to hold my attention.


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